LEIPER’S FORK, Tenn. – Nashville’s Big Back Yard is a natural watershed area south of Music City ready to be explored.  This giant playground features scenic vistas, rivers, streams, parks and natural areas. Anchored by 100 miles of the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, Nashville’s Big Back Yard is made up of 12 connected small towns and The Shoals region of North Alabama. Here are the top ten reasons to come and play in our Big Back Yard.

Bike the Natchez Trace Parkway

It’s a bucket list item for all bikers, whether powered by two legs or on your free-wheeling motorized ride. The National Park Service has designated the entire 444 miles of the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, one of America’s oldest roads, as a bicycle route. With light automotive traffic, no commercial traffic, 50 MPH speed limit, and no stop signs or intersections, bikers can relax and enjoy an exceptionally scenic roadway.  

Kayak, Canoe or Float the Buffalo River

The Buffalo River in Perry County, TN offers a 37-mile Class I scenic water trail through nature. This ride, whether kayaking, canoeing or innertube floating, offers water relaxation as easy as Sunday morning, no matter what day you experience the trip. 

Visit The Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge near Waynesboro, TN is the only known double-span natural bridge formation in the world. Formed over millions of years, it is a singularly unique and amazing landmark that can add a special, memorable touch to your visit. The bridge is located on the Tennessee Fitness Spa grounds. A HikeThe TVA Muscle Shoals Trails Complex is home to a vintage restored railroad bridge over glistening water, a natural waterfall, and over 11 miles of foot trails. It is one of the most scenic settings in the Tennessee River Valley with wildflowers, bird watching, campsites, and natural woods.

The 2.7-mile Lady’s Bluff Loop Trail in Perry County, TN, a designated National Recreational Trail, leads visitors to the top of a majestic limestone bluff offering far-reaching views across the Tennessee River. The moderately strenuous trail climbs through a mixed hardwood forest.

Golf the Robert Trent Jones Trail in North Alabama

The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals is home to two 18-hole championship courses and lies between the Wheeler and Wilson dams on the Tennessee River. This course was the first on the RTJ Trail to break 8,000 yards.

Fish Wilson Lake or The Tennessee River

At 15,500 acres, Wilson Lake is small by comparison to other Tennessee Valley Authority lakes along the Tennessee River, but it is fierce when it comes to fishing. Largemouth bass weighing more than 7 pounds, smallmouth bass over 5 pounds and blue catfish that tip the scales at more than 50 pounds are frequently caught on Wilson Lake.

Clifton, Tennessee is nestled along the Tennessee River with an estimated 320 species of fish. The Clifton Marina provides full access to amenities for Tennessee River fishermen, boaters and RV campers, including shoreline RV campsites.

Explore David Crockett and Joe Wheeler State Parks

David Crockett State Park, named for Tennessee’s famous native son and American hero, is located in Lawrenceburg, TN. The park features paddling, biking, hiking, swimming, camping, fishing, boating.

Joe Wheeler State Park, located on Wheeler Lake in The Shoals of Alabama, offers something for everyone; a resort lodge, a restaurant, cabins, camping, fishing, golf, tennis, swimming, convention/banquet facilities, transient slips and a marina.

Mountain Bike Mousetail Landing State Park 

Mousetail Landing State Park is 1247 acres on the east banks of the Tennessee River in Perry County, TN. A series of mountain bike trails weave through a hilly section of the park. Very steep climbs and great downhills make this system of trails a must ride.  

Visit Fall Hollow Falls in Hohenwald

Fall Hollow is one of two waterfalls along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Almost immediately after leaving your vehicle you can hear the water descending over the twenty foot drop making Fall Hollow waterfall. If you continue down this short trail you will come to a viewing platform that views the 20 foot waterfall.

Cruise Wheeler Lake

Wheeler Lake Scenic Cruises offer guided lake cruises to the public and to private groups along the scenic coves and bluffs of Joe Wheeler State Park, the spectacular lower section of Wheeler Lake, and Lake Wilson.


Spokesperson Mike Wolfe’s (HISTORY’s American Picker), invitation to come and play in Nashville’s Big Back Yard:

Buffalo River Kayaking with Commodore River Adventures:
World’s only know double-span natural bridge in Waynesboro, Tennessee. Photo by Meghann Aileen.